Lloyd George Knew My Father, Review | Harborough Theatre

Market Harborough Drama Society present ‘Lloyd George Knew My Father’ by William Douglas-Home until Sat 13 April.

The first thing that struck me as I arrived at Harborough Theatre was how busy the bar and lounge area was, and it was when I approached the FOH Manager to collect my ticket that I discovered the show was SOLD OUT!

The 118 seat Theatre is right in the centre of the town and is run and maintained by Market Harborough Drama Society, who produce a wide range of shows each season that keep their loyal members returning time and time again; and playing to a sold out audience mid way through the run of ‘Lloyd George Knew My Father’ is evidence of a job extremely well done.

As I entered the auditorium Ron Kirk’s set was warm and inviting. From the breakfast table to the mini grand piano, the cleverly lit portrait back centre stage and the beautiful landscape seen through the windows, I was instantly transported to the English Countryside. With the play taking place over a weekend there was no need for big elaborate scene changes, but small details were altered to indicate the passing of time along with costume changes (some of which were enviable for any woman who has a love of fashion, ‘Maud’s’ Sunday evening dinner dress was quite beautiful).

The cast of 8 were led by Nicky Mawer who was captivating from the start in her portrayal of the lead role of ‘Lady Sheila Boothroyd’, a headstrong woman who is adamant that she will ‘do herself in’ due to the fact that a dual carriageway is scheduled to be built through a portion of land which her family have owned for many years. The calm ‘matter of fact’ nature that Mawer brings to Lady Boothroyd makes the absurd scenario all the more hilarious

Tony Price’s ‘General Sir William Boothroyd’ was the perfect partner to Mawer’s ‘Lady’, the pair had a natural chemistry that enhanced the characters relationship and you could believe that they had been married for 54 years (40,000 breakfasts!), the ‘yes dear’ conversations were relatable to any long standing couple, however the clear affection for one another shone through. His innocent repetition of stories throughout the conversations created ripples of laughter within the audience, and I certainly saw elements of people I know in his character.

Mark Wood and Helen Foreman played the roles of the Politician Son and Daughter-in-Law ‘Hubert and Maud Boothroyd’ with ease, and Millie Whitcher played their daughter ‘Sally’ with authenticity. The family dynamics within this ‘five-some’ were fantastic and recognisable ; Wood’s initial dismissiveness of his mother when she tells him of her plan, Whitcher’s loving friendship with her grandmother, Price marching to his own tune and Foreman clearly upset with her Mother in Laws plotting; and all centred around Mawer’s ‘Lady Boothroyd’ of Boothroyd Hall.
The family unit was strong, however
Ben Liptrott held his own as ‘Simon Green’ the boyfriend of Sally. You would not suspect that this was his debut with MHDS, and I suspect he will tread the boards at Harborough theatre again in the future. The supporting roles of the ‘Rev. Simmonds’ and butler ‘Robertson’ played by Les Dodd and Peter Warren completed this strong cast, with each of them bringing well rounded performances to each character.

The end of Act 2 Scene 1 was quite moving and with some sensitive direction from Maggie Kirk and clever lighting from the lighting team (Jeff Parker, Kev Millard and John Falconer), it left me wondering if this comedy was going to become a tragedy, however I was delighted to discover that the laughter remained until the very end.

As with any show small hiccups happen throughout a run however the cast dealt with them in a professional manner and this production was an excellent example of the quality of work produced by MHDS, and the talent within the local theatre community.

It would be great to see their work bring in a younger generation of theatre goers as well as the loyal season ticket holders in order to grow the theatre following in Market Harborough. There is a huge variety of theatre happening across Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, both amateur and professional but we have this gem right on our doorstep and we should be shouting about it more to new audiences!

Performance: Thu 11 April 2019, Market Harborough

Lloyd George Knew My Father runs until Sat 13 April – visit http://harboroughtheatre.com/ for information on how to book, and for upcoming performances at the venue.




About Ellen Beardsmore 3 Articles
Ellen Beardsmore is a local theatre producer and performer, working with EG Productions. She graduated from Bath Spa University in 2007 with a BA: Hons in Performing Arts Acting, and continues to work in the industry.